Monday, April 21, 2014

Married - A Facebook Experiment

Lately I have been under some pressure to prepare myself for marriage. My mother has notified me that next year I will be getting married come what may. Added to this, relatives do their job of making routine enquiry, sometimes getting all philosophical by saying that one has to go through all stages of life and such things. All this ok. What flipped the switch was that Facebook too got into the act recently and started posting ads of matrimonial sites on my 'wall'. I thought it would be a good idea to shut at least one mouth up and so changed my status from 'single' to 'married'.
I notified everyone that this was only a test to see if the ads stop and to see what other types of ads come up. (Ignoring this many of my friends congratulated me and wished me and my fictitious wife a happy married life.)
The test turned out to be a great success. The matrimonial ads stopped almost immediately. Victory was near. But the power for advertising could not be undone. As some of my friends warned me, ads about honeymoon/vacation trips started to appear. Exotic locations over the weekend. I was asked if I wanted my family's name engraved on wood (for ease of the near-extinct postman I suppose). Some wedding and event planning company in Vishakapatnam felt I would require their services now (after my wedding. I cannot understand why). Even Flipkart took a dig and started suggesting amazing offers on blenders and juice makers. One of the most common ads was that of some furniture company (one called FabFurniture) which kept insisting that I should definitely get a wooden cupboard and other fancy furniture items. 
The most frequent ad, mother promise, was of some company called Life Cell which asked me if my wife is pregnant and if she was, then I ought to start knowing about stem cell banking. I should gift my baby "the power of stem cells", it said. Yet another company asked me the same question and said that if the answer is again in the affirmative, I should get my wife's pregnancy scan done at their place. It had a ultrasound scan photo of a baby on the abdomen of a pregnant lady. (A very creepy image if you ask me. Attached for your judgment. Somehow reminded me of the movie Total Recall. Don't ask how, why and all.) 

Now let us talk about these two ads for a while. First of all, I have been "married" for not even 3 days. How could Facebook deduce that my wife could be pregnant or that I will start thinking about pregnancy immediately ? Perhaps Facebook performed an in depth analysis of my photos and using all their face recognition software came up with two alternatives:
1. I married a woman who was already pregnant (hopefully because of me. Other wise I don't want to discuss it here. It a personal issue between my wife and me)?  This could be from some of the more "rowdy"/"crazy" images that I had used as my profile picture.
2. Or, and I think this is more likely, Facebook, deduced from my looks that I was so awesomely powerful that my "seed" could impregnate a woman in a matter of hours. Remember how six nymphs got impregnated by Lord Shiva's "seed(s)" just because they were having bath in the same river in which Agni dropped them (because they were so hot. Not the nymphs, the "seed(s)".) Well, perhaps Facebook thought I too was so potent. Thank you Facebook. You understand my powers. Please, come up with a super-hero name for such an impregnator. Something like Instant Impregnator, Impregnator Extraordinaire.
What I cannot understand is, why not post ads of condoms instead ? See, we have so much population already in the country. Added to that, so many children are orphaned due to poverty (or because they are girls) or sold into beggary. We could do with a lot less child production, don't you think ? Another reason I will give. See, all said and done, it is an open secret that the only way (most) Indian men get any "action" is by getting married. So, after controlling all that sexual frustration for so many years, it could be that they forget a very important think like protection on the day (or night, to follow more tradition accounts) of reckoning. So, it would be wise to remind them of that. Think about it Facebook.
Following these ads were physiotherapy ads for back pain. Now, I am not saying that back pain has direct link to the above activity but the connection seems hard to miss. It's all a calculated strategy see.
All this also okay. Why diaper discount ads are coming ? Perhaps Facebook judges that my wife also has super awesome powers of immediately delivering the baby. Instant growth and speedy delivery. Ready for one more madam and sir ?
Last, but not the least, BlapPlus hair consultation offers me cheap consultation and remedy for hair loss and baldness ! This is where I got a jolt. Now, Facebook knows my age (and that's why posted the matrimonial ads I guess) and would hence know that I could not be going bald at least in near future. (I am talking of the average man here. Some unfortunate ones are already going bald. All genes.) But as soon as it saw that I was married, it changed its mind. "See", its artificial intelligence must have thought, "this guy is a nut. He must have married a nut. She might be driving him into becoming an even greater nut. Therefore, his head might start looking like a nut- smooth and spotless. Hence proved. Let me suggest some baldness treatment."
Apart from these striking ones, I used to get ads about mutual fund investments. That's all.
Going by the ads, I could an indirect glimpse into what my life would be like after marriage. It scared me. Hence I decided to change my status back to "single". At least the ads of matrimonial sites have pretty girls on them and not creepy ultrasounded abdomens.

P.S: No insultation of women is intended. Giving birth is an experience I will never be able to undergo myself so all respect to female people.